Local indie rockers expand their reach

Adam Smith might be best known as front man of local rock group Invisible Hand, but he’s never short on other musical outlets, from the unpredictable sonic explorations of side projects like Great Dads and Articulate Chewbacca and his frequent DJ gigs, to his time as The Bridge/PAI’s first music coordinator and a member of defunct bands like Folkskünde and Truman Sparks. Not surprisingly, he’s expanding his musical reach even further in 2012. 


In February, Adam Smith of Invisible Hand will take part in the ASCAP/Columbia University Film Scoring Workshop and collaborate with graduate students from Columbia’s film school.


In February Smith will be heading to New York City to take part in the ASCAP/Columbia University Film Scoring Workshop, which invites 25 composers to collaborate with graduate students from the Columbia University Film School. Though being selected for the program is quite an achievement on its own, Smith will have a chance to further distinguish himself as an Ivy League-approved musical talent, as five of those composers will have the chance to score films that’ll be submitted to the annual Columbia University Film Festival, which includes screenings in both New York and Los Angeles. “I was very honored to be accepted considering I’m such a ‘non-musician,’” Smith told us, being far too humble about his abilities, in our opinion. “I was also baffled when I found out that I might be working with an entire orchestra,” he said. “Might being the key word. That opportunity would only come about if I’m able to say the craziest shit with the straightest face, or so I’m told.”

That workshop might take him away from Charlottesville for a few months, but it’s far from the only project that Smith has in the works. He’s also excited for a new Invisible Hand EP, which the band plans to finish recording before he splits for the Big Apple. “I’ve simplified the songwriting a bit and relied on the band to expound upon that, which has fruited some crucial arrangements,” he told us. 

On top of that, Smith has also assumed a role as a sound engineer at Chris Keup’s White Star Sound, the Louisa recording studio where Invisible Hand recorded its self-titled full-length album. “I like becoming obsessed with something,” Smith said when we asked him what he likes about recording. “That feeling of accomplishment and creation that is why I do it, and bottom line, if I weren’t able to create things I would be a very irritable person.”

Smith isn’t the only Adam from Invisible Hand who’s keeping busy. When we caught up with drummer Adam Brock he told us he’s been working with his Borrowed Beams of Light cohort Nate Walsh on a new EP to follow up last year’s excellent Stellar Hoax. “We’ve got a really solid lineup these days, so I’m trying to incorporate the live band into the writing and arrangements more,” Brock said. He also plans to experiment and push the limits while recording. “I want to cut loose a little and just do some fun, kind of dumb stuff in the studio that the adult in me tells me not to do,” he said. “Like putting a bunch of phaser on everything and putting fake applause all over it.” 

Brock has also teamed up with his Hand bandmate Thomas Dean, accomplished producer Bryan Hoffa and David Gibson and Kris Hough of The Hilarious Posters to form SQUEEZEus, a group that will pay tribute to the music of British New Wave group Squeeze, known for hits like “Cool for Cats” and “Up the Junction.” You can catch their live debut February 10 at Random Row Books.

Speaking of Thomas Dean, he is also hard at work on his long-running musical project Order, which has been rocking across Virginia and beyond for over a decade. He’s putting together Order Presents: AT&T Friends And Pharaohs Family Plan, a unique “family tree” compilation album that will include contributions from musicians and bands that have shared members with Order over the years, including Invisible Hand, The Cinnamon Band, Snack Truck and Whatever Brains. “We have had around 20 members since we started, so I’m asking them to submit tracks for it that can be either current or from older projects they were involved with,” Dean told us.

Stargazing with Corsair

And while we’re on the subject of upcoming projects, Feedback is also excited to hear that local prog-metal masterminds Corsair are gearing up to record their first full-length album. It will follow their Alpha Centauri and Ghosts of Proxima Centauri EPs, which have not only received praise in these pages, but also made waves across the globe via the online metal community. “A lot of reviewers and fans have been mentioning that it’s about time we did a full-length,” guitarist Marie Landragin told us. “With the addition of some new gear, we’ll make our house into a makeshift recording studio while we lay down the basic tracks in our living room.” We can’t wait to hear what cosmic sounds emerge from the heart of the Corsair lair!

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